Taped crusader: my cluttered collection of cassettes

I’ve had a pile of cassette tapes gathering dust for maybe 15 years. I figured it was time to go through them. Sorting through some old belongings, I discovered an old walkman that still worked. Bingo! What would be on these dusty old tanglers? I was mostly hoping to find a phone interview I did with Nivek Ogre, or a face-to-face with Fear Factory, neither of which saw the light of day thanks to a mishap in a house move. They must have been in the other pile of tapes, which got damaged. Nope. On this one, I found …

TAPE 1

It’s in a Smashing Pumpkins sleeve, but is actually a bootleg of Ministry in 1994. I went through a brief phase of picking up dodgy tapes – cassettes and videos – from the Camden Market. The bloke on the stall claimed to be mates with Killing Joke, and said they let him onto the stage to stand at the side to get the best footage. I never bought one of his Killing Joke tapes, but I did walk away with Skinny Puppy’s 1986 Ain’t It Dead Yet and NIN in Dallas, 1990. I’m guessing this is from that market stall.

TAPE 2

Mixtape from a former friend and colleague. I miss mixtapes – the type that we would swap all the time in the workplace, and the way we’d find new music in the days before Youtube and blogging. Ahhh, memories flooding back: Photek, Smith & Mighty, DJ Krush, Pere Ubu … OMFG! Now, I remember: I made out with the mixtape guy and he never called me afterwards. Bastard! Not listening to you!

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TAPE 3

Schaft – Switchblade. (Maki Fuji of Soft Ballet, Hisashi Imai of Buck-Tick and Raymond Watts from PIG/KMFDM. Ah! Back when “industrial” rock was cool …)

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TAPE 4

Select – Red Tape

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TAPE 5

Select – More Red Tape

Free covermount cassette that came with the November 1990 issue of Select magazine. Simple Minds / Propaganda / That Petrol Emotion / Something Happens / Ashley Maher / Maxi Priest / Loose Ends / Lalah Hathaway / Sonny Southon / Junior Tucker / Working Week

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TAPE 6

The cover is a Foetus mixtape of early/rare stuff – the really cheesy experimental-electro stuff he did – in handwriting I don’t recognise,

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but the actual tape is a Creation compilation called Coming Down. I’m guessing one of my former housemates is wondering why there’s a weird Foetus compilation in the cassette-box their Creation tape came in. Anyone familiar with the Creation catalogue will know right away what’s great (My Bloody Valentine) and what sucks (Oasis), though the track by The Telescopes – shoegaze jazz! – is incredible.

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TAPE 7

Wax Trax Summer Swindle compilation, which might have also come free with a magazine.

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TAPE 8

The cover is PIG Praise the Lard on side A and Steroid Maximus Gondwanaland on side B. The actual tape is Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, which since I have the CD anyway, is going in the bin.

TAPE 9

Chews up immediately I load it into the player (not surprising after 21 years). It is, apparently, Never Loved Elvis by The Wonder Stuff. They were the most amazing live band, you know – they’d play these two-hour sets that were exhausting even to watch. They had so much energy, and really knew how to work a crowd. I think I saw them about three times in total.

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TAPE 10

Help compilation for the War Child charity.

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TAPE 11

Cassette single of If You Buy This Record Your Life Will Be Better by The Tamperer feat Maya. I have no explanation or excuse for this.

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TAPE 12

Marked ‘Raymond Watts 30/9/99’ but actually appears to be an interview with Marc Heal from Cubanate from when I was running their website.

TAPE 13

The Wind in the Willows featuring Debbie Harry. Capitol Records 1968. From memory, I think my dad’s colleague gave it to him and he gave it to me, and I don’t think I’ve ever played the tape (save for a few seconds). It’s just noteworthy as being Debbie Harry’s first record – a folk rock combo who only got to 195 in the charts, and from this clip it seems it’s not bad.

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TAPE 14

Front Line Assembly live bootleg Amsterdam 13/05/89: Digital Tension Dementia / Big Money / Teardown / No Limit / Sedation / Lethal Compound / Bloodsport / Lurid Sensatin / Foolsgame

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TAPE 15

Select magazine Polydor compilation 1992 (presumably Maximum Bliss)

TAPE 16

In Bold Gardens cassette – a demo EP by (Cardiacs “family” band) The Monsoon Bassoon. This will be one of the things I keep indefinitely as an artifact.

TAPE 17

Unlabelled. Bunch of stuff in French from when I was studying the language at A-Level. And still no bloody interview tape! Grr. What a waste of an evening! But listened to some top tunes, so not so bad.

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